Our campus, our safety

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

By Erica Setnick

When I was growing up, I used to play outside with a couple kids my age around the neighborhood, playing sports and getting muddy.

When we were all playing kickball, the ball went across the street, into my friend’s front yard, and when I got the ball I noticed a little blue sign sticking out of the mulch by her porch. The sign said, “Secured by ADT,” in big white letters.

I asked her what it meant. She told me, “It’s to keep the bad guys from stealing all of my toys and stuff from my house.”

The sign confused me. I mean, it was so little. How could a big mean robber get scared from a little sign like that?

Now that I’m older, I realize there are more important things in life than just kickball and getting dirty.

I now understand the little sign’s message: You have to protect your home, your family, your business, and your school, by any means necessary.

During grade school, there was a shooting at a bar down the street from the local public middle school, where most of my neighbors attended sixth grade.

I remember watching the live TV broadcast. The students at the middle school and the high school had to remain on lockdown for about five hours until the shooter was in police custody.

All I could remember was how scared my friends must have been, waiting around and not knowing what was going on.

This wasn’t the first or last time a shooter had terrorized a school. This is an ongoing problem in our society today and little is being done to stop it.

But it begs the question: How can you stop mass shootings on school campuses?

According to the U.S Department of Education, almost all college campuses ban concealed weapons, even from their security guards.

Consider this scenario: an active shooter comes to our campus. He walks right in, no security clearance needed. He walks right in the front doors and shoots the first person he sees.

He then sees a sign that says, “NO GUNS ON CAMPUS.” He interprets that as, “WE DON’T PROTECT OURSELVES— SHOOT AT WILL—WE CAN’T STOP YOU” and it is open season for him.

This is unfortunately a scary reality for victims. That’s why banning all concealed weapons is arguably irresponsible and irrational.

Gun control activists believe that allowing concealed carry will turn colleges into settings for “wild-west shootouts.”

Well, if several trained individuals outnumber a shooter, the prospects of any shooting occurring decrease significantly.

Others may fear that this could lead to more than one shooter – but consider the mentality required to commit these crimes is not shared amongst most people, and are planned and perpetrated by unstable individuals, who rarely disclose the details to peers.

Allowing concealed carry on the premises poses no additional risk to regular student life if it is properly controlled by the campus.

Effective implementation can promote a safer college environment, while reassuring both staff and students that their peers are there to keep them safe.

Shootings occur in the blink of an eye, without warning or reason. Law enforcement can only respond so quickly —the three closest police stations from Marple Campus are at least 5 miles away— and hostage situations typically become a killer’s last-resort.

The only way to catch such an unpredictable person off-guard is to give trained, responsible firearm owners a chance to protect themselves and their peers.

As American citizens, we have a right to protect our family and ourselves, no matter where we are.

It’s time to start exercising that right.

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